An atmosphere of pandemonium overtook the Imo State Zoological Garden in Owerri over an alleged relocation of the zoo’s animals to Jos, the capital of Plateau State.
A Correspondent who visited the zoo at about 4.00 p.m. on Saturday, February 18, 2023, reports that staff members of the zoo watched helplessly as persons alleged to have come from Jos took the animals away.
Some of the staffers protested the efforts of the visitors, lamenting non-payment of their salaries for a period of 10 months.
They wondered why the zoo, which is the lone zoo in the southeast geopolitical zone, would be emptied without adequate explanations from appropriate authorities.
A member of staff who pleaded anonymous said: ”This is the only zoo in the southeast. The only means of preserving wildlife in the entire geopolitical zone. It beats my imagination that this has to happen.”
Another member of staff said: ” We have not been paid for 10 months. Since we weren’t paid while we kept the animals, who knows what will become of us now that the animals are no more?”, she said.
The Zoo Keeper, Mrs Nkiruka Onyeagocha, who declined comments, however, watched rather gloomily as the animals were taken away.
There was a heavy presence of armed policemen at the zoo as the animals were taken away using trapping equipment.
Some of the animals being taken away included ostriches, three lions, hyenas and pythons, among others.
By Victor Nwachukwu